West Midlands Combined Authority

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West Midlands Combined Authority
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West Midlands UK locator map 2010.svg
The West Midlands Metropolitan County within England
Type
Type
Houses Unicameral
Term limits
None
History
Founded To be established 10 June 2016
Leadership
Chair of WMCA Shadow Board
Cllr Bob Sleigh
Vice-chair
TBD
Seats 7 members
Elections
Indirect election, directly elected mayor from 2017
Website
www.westmidlandscombinedauthority.org.uk

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), commonly referred to the Greater Birmingham Combined Authority, or simply Greater Birmingham,[1][2][3] is a combined authority for West Midlands metropolitan county in England. It will be established by statutory instrument under the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 on 10 June 2016.[4] It will be a strategic authority with powers over transport, economic development and regeneration.

History

The abolition of the West Midlands County Council in 1986 left the county without a single authority covering the whole area, although some council functions continued to be provided jointly, through the West Midlands Joint Committee, the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority, West Midlands Police (initially under the oversight of the West Midlands Police Authority and currently overseen by the directly elected West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner) and West Midlands Fire Service.

Organisation

The authority's initial priorities will involve co-ordinating the city-region to act as one place on certain issues, such as international promotion and investment; reforming public services such as mental health services; and improving internal and external transport links.[5]

Transport for West Midlands

Centro (Network West Midlands) will be absorbed into the authority upon its creation,[6] and rebranded as Transport for West Midlands - gaining the ability to franchise bus services and set standardised fares. Swift will therefore have the ability to work multi-operator and gain fare-caps, similar to Oyster. TfWM will also gain highway management powers, working along 'strategic road network' routes, similar to Transport for London.

A £97m grant will be supplied, guaranteeing the construction of the Adderley Park Metro extension, and a new line to Brierley Hill. A £4.2bn High Speed 2 connectivity budget will provision the construction of the Sprint network, and new transport connections to Coventry.[7]

Housing and planning

The WMCA will have the ability to create a regional spatial development strategy, similar to the London Plan and the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. While local planning will remain in the hands of the seven boroughs, the WMCA will be able to analyse county-wide brownfield sites and decide where new homes should be built.

Health

A mental health commission will be formed in order to create a reformed mental healthcare system in the county.[7] The WMCA will not, however, have control over a devolved NHS budget as is the case in Greater Manchester.

Mayor of West Midlands

From 2017, the West Midlands, along with several other city regions, will elect a 'metro mayor' with similar powers to the Mayor of London. It is expected that an interim mayor will head the authority from its creation until the first public poll, as is currently the case in Greater Manchester. The mayor will absorb the role of the police and crime commissioner. The date of the first mayoral election will be 4 May 2017.[8]

A directly-elected mayor for the combined authority area was described as 'inevitable',[9] as such a role has been stated as a conditional requirement for a more powerful devolution deal. The WMCA shadow board submitted proposals for a combined authority with and without a mayor leader, and decided which plan of action to take based on the devolution proposals from the government for each.[10] Powers sought for a regional metro mayor and the WMCA were first revealed in a leaked bid document first reported by Simon Gilbert, of the Coventry Telegraph.[11] Those powers included the ability of the mayor to levy extra business rates from companies in the region. Negotiations also included the desire to take away the ability of local councils to retain future business rates growth and to hand that cash to the WMCA, who would decide how it was spent across the region instead of by individual local authorities.

Membership

The authority consists of the seven local authorities of West Midlands as constituent members, three Local Enterprise Partnerships as non-constituent members, and several local authorities covered by the LEPs as non-constituent members.

The membership of the combined authority is expected to be as follows:

Name Membership Nominating authority Position within nominating authority
John Clancy Constituent Birmingham City Council Leader of the Council
Ann Lucas Constituent Coventry City Council Leader of the Council
Pete Lowe Constituent Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council Leader of the Council
TBD Constituent Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council Leader of the Council
Bob Sleigh Constituent Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council Leader of the Council
Mike Bird Constituent Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council Leader of the Council
Roger Lawrence Constituent Wolverhampton City Council Leader of the Council
(Vacant) Constituent West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor of the West Midlands
George Adamson Non-constituent Cannock Chase District Council Leader of the Council
Dennis Harvey Non-constituent Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council Leader of the Council
Bill Hartnett Non-constituent Redditch Borough Council Leader of the Council
Daniel Cook Non-constituent Tamworth Borough Council Leader of the Council
Kuldip Sahota Non-constituent Telford and Wrekin Council Leader of the Council
Stewart Towe Non-constituent Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership Chair
Jonathan Browning Non-constituent Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership Chair
Andy Street Non-constituent Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Chair

See also

References

  1. "Business groups give backing to 'Greater Birmingham' combined authority". Birmingham Mail. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "West Midlands Combined Authority is such a dismal title - you would expect no less from a committee". Birmingham Mail. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Greater Birmingham councils bid for £8 billion devolution deal". Birmingham Mail. 5 September 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. http://cl-assets.public-i.tv/sandwell/document/08a___Appendix_1_West_Midlands_Order_v9_2_.pdf
  5. "Launch Statement" (pdf). West Midlands Combined Authority. July 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Centro to be abolished as WMCA takes charge of transport « Chamberlain Files". thechamberlainfiles.com. Retrieved 28 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 WMCA Devolution Agreement: Key Points. West Midlands Combined Authority.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Gilbert, Simon (12 May 2016). "Date of election to choose Greater Birmingham mayor". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 12 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Elkes, Neil (16 June 2015). "Elected Mayor for West Midlands by 2019 according to council leaders group". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 7 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Dale's Devo Diary: West Midlands hatches 'to be or not to be' Metro Mayor plan". Retrieved 28 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Revealed: Leaked document shows full details of West Midlands 'super council' bid". Simon Gilbert. Coventry Telegraph. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links